of the Rich and Famous
(Posted here: Saturday, March 31, 2007)
near-death experiences of rich and famous people are
particularly interesting. They are rolling in the money. They are
known all over the world. They are often beautiful, articulate and
very talented in what they do. With this in mind, why would such a
person reveal to everyone that they were dead and came back to life?
Money? They already got that. Fame? They are already famous. In
fact, by telling everyone they came back from the dead, they may be
risking their own reputation. People who reveal such things to
others often become the butt of jokes or thought to be crazy. Why
would anyone rich and famous subject themselves to this when it
might result in lost fame and fortune? The only rational reason that
such people who have nothing to gain is that it really happened to
them and they want to share it with the world. The following are
rich and famous people who risked it all to tell the world about
their near-death experience. Some of these accounts are documented
in Jean Ritchie's excellent book,
Seymour is an actress most noted for
the cult classic movie, Somewhere in Time, with actor Christopher
Reeves, and the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. When
Jane Seymour was 36 years of age, she had a severe case of the flu
and was given an injection of penicillin. She suffered an allergic
reaction which led to a near-death experience.
"I literally left my body. I had
this feeling that I could see myself on the bed, with people grouped
around me. I remember them all trying to resuscitate me. I was above
them, in the corner of the room looking down. I saw people putting
needles in me, trying to hold me down, doing things. I remember my
whole life flashing before my eyes, but I wasn't thinking about
winning Emmys or anything like that. The only thing I cared about
was that I wanted to live because I did not want anyone else looking
after my children. I was floating up there thinking, "No, I don't
want to die. I'm not ready to leave my kids." And that was when I
said to God, "If you're there, God, if you really exist and I
survive, I will never take your name in vain again." Although I
believe that I "died" for about thirty seconds, I can remember
pleading with the doctor to bring me back. I was determined I wasn't
going to die." Then Jane suddenly found herself back in her body.
Sellers was the comic genius of a generation of
actors. He brought brilliant characterizations to numerous films,
including The Mouse That Roared (1959), Dr. Strangelove (1964), The
Pink Panther (1964), and Being There (1979). He was known for his
enthusiastic way of totally absorbing himself in his characters,
even carrying roles offstage. He also suffered from sad moods
between films. While he knew his characters thoroughly, he said that
he really did not know who he was. Then Peter Sellers, the
brilliant, confused actor, had a near-death experience. Seated in a
Hollywood mockup of a limousine's back seat while shooting his last
great film, Being There, he told Shirley MacLaine about it. He was
astonished that she did not consider him bonkers. Shirley documents
their conversation in her book,
Out on a Limb (172).
In 1964, during the first of a rapid series of
eight heart attacks, when his heart stopped and he was clinically
dead, he had an out-of-body experience and saw the bright, loving
light. Sellers stated, "Well, I felt myself leave my body. I just
floated out of my physical form and I saw them cart my body away to
the hospital. I went with it ... I wasn't frightened or anything
like that because I was fine; and it was my body that was in
trouble." Meanwhile, the doctor saw that Sellers was dead and began
to massage his heart vigorously. Sellers stated, "I looked around
myself and I saw an incredibly beautiful bright loving white light
above me. I wanted to go to that white light more than anything.
I've never wanted anything more. I know there was love, real love,
on the other side of the light which was attracting me so much. It
was kind and loving and I remember thinking That's God." Sellers'
out-of-body soul tried to elevate itself toward the light, but fell
short. Sellers stated, "Then I saw a hand reach through the light. I
tried to touch it, to grab onto it, to clasp it so it could sweep me
up and pull me through it." But just then his heart began beating
again, and at that instant the hand's voice said, "It's not time. Go
back and finish. It's not time." As the hand receded Sellers felt
himself floating back down to his body, waking up bitterly
What effect did his NDE have on Sellers? His
biographer stated that "The repeated act of dying became for Peter
Sellers the most important experience of his life." (Walker, 158)
Sellers himself said of death, "I'll never fear it again." Family
and friends found him more spiritual and reflective than before. His
biographer stated, "The experience of resurrection intensified
Sellers' spiritual concern and friends discerned the start of a new
introspectiveness, a sense of his not "being there" in spirit,
though present in body." According to his biographer, Sellers' wife,
Britt Ekland, found it unnerving that her previously restless
husband had now become so quiet. He was now "sitting still over
lengthy periods, saying nothing, but staring at her with his
thoughts turned inward." Sellers returned to England for an extended
convalescence, but soon reverted to old habits and bought his 84th
car, an expensive Ferrari.
A couple of years before his NDE, Peter had
played an earnest priest in Heavens Above, and developed a serious
interest in Christianity (although he was born Jewish). During this
time, and following his father's death in 1962, Sellers was drawn to
long, serious discussions about life's meaning with a neighboring
vicar in London, the Rev. John Hester, "to try to reconcile the
world of plenty he inhabited with the emptiness of soul that
oppressed him." (Walker, 143) After his NDE he deepened his quest
for spiritual truth, continuing his discussions with Rev. Hester,
and coming close to joining the church. In later years he practiced
yoga, saying once that "Yoga has given me a tranquility I wouldn't
have thought possible." (Walker, 217) Sellers' NDE strengthened his
conviction that he was a reincarnated soul whose power of mimicry
sprang from memories of past lives. But during his incarnation as
Peter Sellers, at least, he felt lost. He did not know who he was
and why he was on this earth. He explained to this to Shirley
MacLaine this way, "I know I have lived many times before ... that
experience confirmed it to me, because in this lifetime I felt what
it was for my soul to actually be out of my body. But ever since I
came back, I don't know why I don't know what it is I'm supposed to
do, or what I came back for." (MacLaine, 174) Spirituality gave
Sellers some peace, but did not still his restless drift. In 1977,
he complained that his yoga practice did not stop his heart disease.
According to his biographer, "After all, what did it do for me? I
obeyed all the instructions. I said my prayers regularly. I did all
the exercises for peace, tranquility, and happiness. And all that
happened was that I got steadily worse." Sellers' NDE awakened him
to a deepened spirituality, but it did not usher in a major, lasting
change in his mental habits and his outlook on life. This brilliant
actor still felt lost. But Peter Sellers had a final heart attack.
And it was then, that it was his time to go.
spoke about her experience of having died on the operating table
while undergoing surgery, and of passing through a tunnel towards a
brilliant white light. Interviewed by Larry King on CNN's Larry King
Live, the legendary Hollywood star related how she had died for five
minutes on the operating table. Ms. Taylor said that while she was
clinically dead, she had encountered the spirit of Michael Todd, one
of her former husbands, whom she referred to as her great love. She
had wanted to stay with Todd, she said, but he had told her that she
had work and life ahead of her, and he "pushed me back to my life."
Following her resuscitation, the eleven-person medical team -
including doctors, nurses, etc. - witnessed Taylor's testimonial of
"I was pronounced dead once and
actually saw the light. I find it very hard to talk about, actually,
because it sounds so corny. It happened in the late '50s, and I saw
Mike (Todd, Taylor's third husband, who was killed in a plane crash
in 1958). When I came to, there were about 11 people in the room.
I'd been gone for about five minutes - they had given me up for dead
and put my death notice on the wall. I shared this with the people
that were in the room next to me. Then after that I told another
group of friends, and I thought, "Wow, this sounds really screwy. I
think I'd better keep quiet about this."
"For a long time I didn't talk
about it, and it's still hard for me to talk about. But I have
shared it with people with AIDS because if the moment occurs and
you're really sharing, it's real. I am not afraid of death, because
I have been there."
In an interview with
AIDS magazine, Liz described her NDE again: "I went to that
tunnel, saw the white light, and Mike [Todd]. I said, Oh Mike,
you're where I want to be. And he said, ‘No, Baby. You have to turn
around and go back because there is something very important for you
to do. You cannot give up now.' It was Mike's strength and love that
brought me back."
Robert Pastorelli was most noted for
his starring role in the television series, Murphy Brown. At the age
of 19, he had a car accident which caused a near-death experience
that literally changed how he was living, in a very dramatic way.
"It smashed right into the
driver's door. It hit me so hard it actually knocked the shoes off
my feet. My car rolled over about four times on this big highway and
the next thing I knew I was in intensive care with a collapsed lung.
Every one of my ribs was shattered. I had lacerations to my head and
face, and my kidneys, spleen and gall bladder were all ruptured. I
was a mess.
"I was in excruciating pain. Then,
in the next second, there was no pain. Suddenly I realized I was out
of my body. I was floating above myself, looking down at my
unconscious body lying in the hospital emergency room with my eyes
closed. I could see tubes down my nose and throat. I knew I was
dying and I thought, "Well, this must be death." I even saw a priest
giving me the last rites. But it was the most peaceful feeling in
the world. Then I saw my father starting to faint out of grief. Two
nurses grabbed him and sat him down in a chair across the room.
"When I looked down and saw my
father's pain it had an effect on me. I firmly believe that at that
moment I made a decision to live, not die. The next thing I knew I
was waking up back in my body. Later, in the recovery room, when I
was fully conscious, I told my father what had happened, his
fainting and all. He was astounded."
Sharon Stone, has
told how she had a white light experience during her brain scare.
Stone says she almost died after internal bleeding caused by a tear
in an artery at the base of her skull. Sharon was interviewed by
Katie Couric about her journey into the afterlife.
“When it hit me I felt like I'd
been shot in the head. That's the only way I can really describe it.
It hit me so hard it knocked me over on the sofa. And Phil was out
of town and I called him and said, "I think I had a stroke." But in
all fairness, I'm a person who's always saying, "I think I've had a
stroke, I think I've had a heart attack, I think I've had a brain
hemorrhage ... I had a real journey with this that took me to places
both here and beyond that affected me so profoundly that my life
will never be the same ... I get to be not afraid of dying and I get
to tell other people that it's a fabulous thing and that death is a
gift. And not that you should kill yourself, but that when death
comes to you, as it will, that it's a glorious and beautiful thing.
This kind of giant vortex of white light was upon me and I kind of -
poof! Sort of took off into this glorious, bright, bright, bright
white light and I started to see and be met by some of my friends.
But it was very fast - whoosh! Suddenly, I was back. I was in my
body and I was in the room.”
once Hollywood's bad boy, was nominated for an Oscar for the movie,
The Buddy Holly Story. Busey, who fought addiction with drugs and
alcohol for several years, was nicknamed Gary Abusey by his wife.
Busey has had supernatural encounters in which he nearly died three
or more times in his life ...a drug overdose, cancer, and an
accident west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. But the most tragic
experience, and one that changed his life, was a motorcycle accident
in 1988. Gary was going about 40-50 miles per hour riding on 750
pounds of cold steel. He was not wearing a helmet when he crashed.
He was flung over the top of his cycle, head first into the curb and
he cracked his skull. Busey had a NDE while he was dying on the
operating table after having brain surgery. During his NDE, he was
surrounded by angels. Busey stated that they didn't appear in the
form that people see on Christmas cards. The angels he saw were big
balls of light that floated and carried nothing but love and warmth
- and this love is unconditional.
As a result of his NDE, he
recently dedicated his life to Jesus and has been a prominent
speaker at many Christian Promise Keeper rallies. He is no longer
the "bad boy" of Hollywood.
Hagman, of Dallas and I Dream of
Jeanie fame, underwent a liver transplant in 1995. Years of heavy
drinking resulted in cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. He was only
weeks away from certain death at the time of his liver transplant
and near-death experience. Larry describes what he experienced:
"I was able to look over the edge. I got a little glimpse of what
was the next step. I didn't see a light some people see, but I had a
wonderful feeling of bliss and warmth. The bottom line is love, that
sounds corny, but it was just lovely, uplifting." Read
Larry Hagman's entire experience here.
has impressive film credits which include
Bruce Almighty, The Sting, JFK, and Anna for which she was nominated
for an Oscar as best actress. In 1966, Sally was participating in
legal psychedelic experiments with doctors whereby she would have
experiences of cosmic consciousness. Unfortunately, these
experiences were followed by her life spinning out of control. The
pain of life had just become more than she could bear. This led to a
nervous breakdown and several suicide attempts. Eventually, she
overdosed on Nembutal and Seconal during a suicide attempt and was
found with her heart and lungs stopped. Last rites were even
administered. It was during this suicide attempt that Sally had a
NDE. She states, "A miracle happened, I was given a second chance
and this has been a way to stay on the straight and narrow for 30
years, with the exception of a period in 1975 where I went off the
track prior to ordination. When people hear the hell I went through
on drugs, they listen to how to get off them." Today, Sally is a
yoga teacher and serves as an ordained minister in the Church of the
Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness for the last decade, where she
helps others to become drug free. When she is on stage, she uses the
emotional recall of her own near-death experience as a source for
bringing light to the roles she plays.
the star of the TV show CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation, had a near-death experience which he described in an
interview for Playboy magazine (March 2004, page 139).
"Years ago, doing a play in Chicago, I cut my finger
in half onstage. We obviously had to stop because, well, I didn't
have a finger. By the time they got me to the ER I had lost a lot of
blood and passed out. I could hear the doctors working on me, saying
that they had lost my vital signs. I was on the "All That Jazz"
escalator with a long tunnel and a lot of white light. Then I
specifically remember a dominant male voice saying, "It's not your
time. Get off the escalator. You've got shit to do." I came to, and
got sewed up. Something in me changed, a sort of knowledge that
somewhere on the other side, its good. For weeks, the more I talked
about it, the more freaked out people got. Some of them were like,
"Okay, whatever: You took too many drugs."
the late 1970s,
and his career were ailing. He had no record
label, no manager, and he was performing almost exclusively in
Vegas. Living in Los Angeles, he had a drug habit, a disintegrating
marriage, and mounting debts. When the IRS started proceedings to
take away his home, he nearly overdosed, and had a near-death
"A golden light enveloped me in a
warm glow," he wrote in his autobiography. "I had the sense that I
was about to embark on a very compelling journey. But suddenly I was
jolted out of the vision ... I knew I had to make major changes in
After this experience, Tony
Bennett did make the changes he needed to make and his life and
career turned around. With the help of his manager/son Danny, he
decided to attempt to appeal to younger audiences with his music.
Beginning with scheduled concerts at colleges and small theaters, he
eventually got re-signed to Columbia Records in the mid-1980s
although he hadn't recorded an album in 11 years. Bennett also
appeared on hip shows like The Simpsons and MTV's Unplugged. His
Unplugged disk won Tony Bennett a Grammy.
Sutherland, who played the character,
Hawkeye Piece, in the movie version of Mash, had a near-death
experience when ill with meningitis in 1979.
"Suddenly the pain, fever and
acute distress seemed to evaporate. I was floating above my body,
surrounded by soft blue light. I began to glide down a long tunnel,
away from the bed ... but suddenly I found myself back in my body.
The doctors told me later that I had actually died for a time."
Estrada became famous for his starring
role in the television series, Chips. While filming an episode of
Chips, he had a terrible motorcycle accident that led to a
"Suddenly I was in a long corridor
with bright lights, beautiful music, and a feeling of great peace.
But something seemed to be blocking my progress. A voice told me,
"You've got to go back. You've a lot still to do. You've achieved
success and stardom but you haven't achieved personal happiness and
peace of mind." After hearing this voice, Estrada returned to his
Reynolds, the star of Smokey and the
Bandit, and many other movies, went into a coma when trying to kick
a sleeping pill addiction. He stated, "I went into a coma for about
eight or nine hours. At one point they tell me that the doctors
brought Loni in to say goodbye to me. And I had the whole out of
body experience. I heard the doctor say, "We're losing him." And I
became internationally known from his role as Farmer
Hoggett, the owner of a piglet in the hit movie Babe. At the age of
five, James fell into the ocean which resulted in a near-death
experience. Since then, James describes his whole life as a mystical
event. After his NDE, James has recurring images in his dreams that
are connected to previous incarnations. He states that he has
memories of a past life in the days of King Arthur during the Middle
Chase became famous when he was one of
the Not Ready For Prime-Time Players for Saturday Night Live. While
working on the film called Modern Problems (1981), Chevy Chase was
nearly killed by electrocution when a stunt went awry during the
sequence in which he is wearing landing lights and dreams that he is
an airplane. The current in the lights short-circuited through his
arm, back, and neck muscles which caused him to lose consciousness
and have a near-death experience. Now, he sees such accidents as a
warning to "cut it out and save his skin." After his experience, he
went through a period of deep depression as many experiencers do
when they don't want to return from their NDE.
actor Lou Gossett Jr.,
famous for his role as a drill sergeant in An Officer and a
Gentleman, has had five near-death experiences. Lou's most
intriguing encounter occurred at the age of twelve. While playing
baseball, he fell into a deep hole and experienced a brilliant
tunnel of light. He also recalls a past incarnation as a pirate with
a harem off the coast of Morocco.
renowned actor Eric Roberts has
starred in more than 70 films, including the
Dannion Brinkley movie,
Saved by the Light. Eric has traveled all over the world
encountering many colorful experiences. One of Eric's most dramatic
moments took place in Westport, Connecticut. He was driving along,
became distracted by his dog, and crashed. He was hospitalized in a
coma and almost died. It was this state that Eric claimed to have
had a surreal out-of-body experience.
DeMornay starred in the movie
thriller, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. When she was 7 years old,
she was in Mexico City, Mexico, when she got ill from a peptic ulcer
and had what she believes was a near-death experience.
"One night the doctors told my
mother that there was only a fifty-fifty chance that I'd make it. I
remember that I was tied to three IVs but I recall getting out of
bed and looking out of the window: it was snowing. There was an
old-fashioned lamppost and barefoot children were dancing around it,
singing. I went back to bed and the next morning the crisis was
over. In 1983 I started thinking about it: "Does it ever snow in
Mexico City? Do they have these strange kind of lampposts there?" I
went back to Mexico and I didn't see those lampposts anywhere. Nor
does it ever snow there."
Lucas is the creator of the
blockbuster movie, Star Wars. Lucas is not conscious of having a
near-death experience, yet he behaves as if he'd had one. As a
youngster, Lucas was considered a punk-a non-achiever, romantic,
unathletic, unassertive, and not studious. According to his father,
he was good at only two things: cruising and hanging out. Wanting to
race cars seemed to be his only ambition. Then, three days before he
was to graduate from high school, without warning or
advance-behavior cues, Lucas was involved in a spectacular car
crash. For three days he hung between life and death and was
hospitalized for two weeks more. About the crash, Lucas stated, "You
can't have that kind of experience and not feel that there must be a
reason why you're here. I realized I should be spending my time
trying to figure out what that reason is and trying to fulfill it."
"died twice" after a bike accident which left him in
a coma for eight days. The accident happened when he hit a pothole
which was covered in leaves. It catapulted him over the handlebars
and he tumbled down a hill with the bike landing on top of him,
crushing his chest. His bodyguard rushed to his aid and gave him
mouth to mouth when he twice stopped breathing. "If it wasn't for
Sam I probably wouldn't be here. He had to bring me back to life
twice." Ozzy said. He described his confusion he had felt on
gradually coming round from his coma. "I didn't know where I was or
how long I'd been there. I would drift in and out of consciousness.
Other times there would be a white light shining through the
darkness, but no f---king angels, no one blowing trumpets and no man
in a white beard." Ozzy, who has battled addictions to drink and
drugs, said the crash finally made him "grow up.". Ozzy stated, "You
are bopping along through life and have your ups and downs, but it
is amazing how two or three seconds can totally change your life."
having near-death experiences are greeted by someone - usually
someone they deeply love or the so-called Being of Light. When
Presley died, it seemed like the whole
world mourned. He was truly loved by many people the world over.
Since then, many people have reported having Elvis sightings where
the spirit of Elvis appears as an apparition to people much in the
same way that Jesus appeared to people after his death. Not only
this, many near-death experiencers find themselves greeted, not by a
Being of Light, but by Elvis Presley. According to
Melvin Morse in his book on near-death experiences entitled
Transformed by the Light, a 45-year old Mid-western
teacher saw Elvis Presley in an intense light during her near-death
experience. The woman had met Elvis when she was a child. The
following is her near-death account:
"I entered into a dark tunnel and suddenly I was in a
place filled up with love and a beautiful, bright light. The place
seemed holy. My father, who had died two years earlier, was there,
as were my grandparents. Everyone was happy to see me, but my father
told me it was not my time and I would be going back. Just as I
turned to go, I caught sight of Elvis! He was standing in this place
of intense bright light. He just came over to me, took my hand and
said, "Hi, Bev, do you remember me?" (Mauro,1992)
Raymond Moody wrote an entire book on Elvis sightings, including
near-death experiences, entitled
Elvis After Life. Because of the large number of devoted Elvis
fans, it should not be a surprise that people having NDEs should be
greeted by the King.